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Recent important planning changes
21 August 2019

Permitted development rights

A significant judgement was recently passed by the High Court which confirmed that local planning authorities do not have the power to delay prior approval for barn conversions.

In the case pitting Warren Farm (Wokingham) Limited v Wokingham Borough Council, the latter requested an extension of time to determine the application before refusing it. However, the judge concluded that “The effect of time passing without a decision is that the development can proceed.”

This is an important judgement as local planning authorities will be aware of the consequences of delaying decisions on prior notification applications which means that such applications will need to be prioritised and thus speed up the planning process.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations

Amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations will come into force on 1st September 2019. The Government believes that the amendments will make the system of developer contributions simpler, more flexible, fairer and more transparent. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government‘s Planning Update Newsletter published in July 2019 summarises the important changes to the CIL Regulations which can be viewed here.

In our view, subject to the details of the CIL schedules which will be adopted by individual councils, the amendments will assist developers to have a better understanding of how CIL contributions impact a project’s financial viability.

Consultations on a draft document for the measurement of land for development and planning purposes

The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has recently commissioned draft guidance on the measurement of land which seeks to provide clearer definitions for the measurements that are widely used in the property and planning sectors, advocating worldwide consistency.

It proposes five definitions of the global measurement of land as follows:

Land area: refers to the legal title area of land and is the legally demised area of land.

Site area: refers to the area of land used for planning application purposes and is the area to which any permission for development relates.

Net development area: refers to the area from which financial value is directly derived, by virtue of either being income-producing or for sale.

Plot ratio: this is the ratio of Gross External Area (GEA) of a building or buildings at each floor area, under the International Property Measurement Standards, to the site area and is already used as a standard metric for planning and design in certain sectors.

Site coverage: this is the ratio of the building footprint’s GEA to the site area at ground floor level and again is already a standard metric for planning and design in certain sectors.

The consultation process runs until 17th September 2019 and details can be found on the RICS website here.

If you would like more information on the above or would like to find out how our Planning & Development team can help you please contact Andrew, Abel or Alice.

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